Lasagna is like pizza: Even when it’s bad, it’s good. With pizza, the saying goes, it’s still melted cheese on warm bread. With lasagna, sub in warm noodles for the bread, and you’ve got the same idea. What could be wrong with such bubbly goodness?
That doesn’t mean there aren’t better and worse lasagnas, of course. You can make your own pasta dough, labor over the sauce and fillings, and use the best possible cheese for something positively sublime on the one hand, or reach into the freezer for something positively un-sublime on the other. I think most of us lasagna-loving home cooks fall in the middle, paying attention to the quality of the ingredients but striving for ways to put it together as quickly and easily as possible.
I based this version on a recipe in “Six Seasons” by Joshua McFadden and Martha Holmberg. I love its use of kale and mushrooms (two of my favorite fall-ish ingredients, even though you can get them year-round), as well as a velouté (a flour-thickened slurry of vegetable broth and milk) rather than tomato sauce. But after making it once, I couldn’t help but enrich it a little, adding an egg to the ricotta filling and one of my favorite cheeses, smoked mozzarella, inside and on top.
The result was just what I was after—something a little more delicate than a typical meat-and-tomato-sauce affair but still hearty, cheesy and rich. Just as a good lasagna should be.